Creative thinking – the new approach for fundraising?

July 18, 2014 11:07 am

What comes to mind when you hear the word fundraising? Time and time again, I find myself approached by various charitable institutions for money, but am rarely given a chance to truly feel involvement in the donation. Do I even get the chance to care – or is a signed check as human as it gets?

Nevertheless, this is no longer the case. Elephant Family, the innovative charity that campaigns to save the Asian Elephant from extinction, has changed the game. In 2012 the charity came up with creative ideas that would put the fun in fundraising, and not be a charity that people get bored of hearing about over and over again.

Mark Shand – Elephant Family’s Leader

The Elephant Family decided to create a project that makes art accessible to the public for the greater good. By bringing about the most popular artists of the modern world, the ones people care about, follow, and admire and mixing them with up and coming new artists and fashion brands who all get the chance to showcase their artistic abilities on a blank canvas. In this case that blank canvas was an egg. These 270 artists designed eggs which were displayed all over London firstly and then New York earlier this year during Easter. It was the world’s largest egg hunt ever. The results; kids running all over NYC to find the eggs, while the parents and other art lovers are enthralled to see designs from the likes of Tracey Emin, Jeff Koons and Julian Schnabel. Finally, sell all the eggs for the cause, as art pieces, at Sotheby’s and on the innovative new website for online art; Paddle8.

To go further into detail, as this was a huge project and required help, work and joy, Fabergé became the headline sponsor and along with various other sponsors, the charity was able to fund the project through various philanthropic donations. The difference with this project was that artists were given a blank canvas to design whatever they wanted (with the notion that it went to saving the Asian Elephant, many chose elephants as a subject matter) and it was not only an opportunity for them to display their works for everyone to see, but an interactive exhibition for young and old alike to join in on. The bright minds of Saatchi and Saatchi generously worked on an app that enabled every tech minded person to follow the competition, and find the eggs hidden (and not so hidden) around the cities.  This was the beginning of what became a frenzied enterprise that boasted the involvement of over 30,000 people and 50,000 eggs collected.

Elephants Family

The artists ranged from big rollers such as Zaha Hadid, Marc Quinn and The Bruce High Quality Foundation to street artists such as Faust, Jason Woodside and Curtis Kulig right down to the New York Academy of Arts students. For them, the opportunity to show their work in a huge exhibition that not only New York saw but was internationally covered, was a rare opportunity. For the newer artists, the chance to be exhibited side by side with major artists like Jeff Koons was perhaps a once in a lifetime opportunity. The breadth of talent to be seen, publicly, resulted in exposure that some of these up and coming artists had never dreamed of.

Ultimately, a fun and creative way of raising money, not only makes room for a more interesting and diverse way of working towards a cause for the charity, but will also act as a call for action to all kinds of people who would not usually get involved. The Elephant family saw all ages, city walkers, bidders; even the artists come together for a true and great cause: saving the near to extinct Asian elephant! Creative minds came together to create something far more beautiful that just asking for money for a cause. Not only will the egg hunt stay in the minds of the people for a long time to come but it will be remembered as an innovative and enjoyable way to involve the masses in raising the awareness for the specific cause.

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  • Harry

    What an excellent article on how to raise funds for a brilliant cause while ensuring that donors get some fun from doing so.

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